women

How Your Loved Ones are Misleading You

Have you got some big ideas and dreams you want to share?

Have you got a problem you'd love help with?

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Don't tell your loved ones!

OK - that might be extreme. Share it with them if you'd like to, but be careful.

Your loved ones don't always have your best interests at heart.

I know you know what I mean:

Scenario: Your partner tells you he's thinking about leaving his job before securing a new one. What's your first thought?

Be honest. Your first thought is likely, "How is this going to impact me?" Even though I know you're a supportive partner, your first thought is for yourself and the effect of his decision, not on whether it's the right thing for your partner.

Family, partners, friends, trusted advisors all share their opinions "looking out for you" but their views are steeped in years of their own fears, limiting beliefs, upbringing, social norms, and yes - their "What's in it for me?" thinking.

I'm writing about it because it came up a couple of times this week with current clients. They shared Ideas they were considering with their loved ones, and close friends, and what they got back was less than supportive, and planted a lot of doubt in their minds.

I did a Facebook Live about it this week, too. View it here.

You see, family, lovers, friends, trusted advisors are all well-intentioned but they come at problems with their own baggage - their own limiting beliefs, the beliefs they were raised with in their family, social norms, and much, much more. And none of what they're basing their opinion on is necessarily helpful to you.

That's why a coach is so transformative and supportive. A good coach's only goal is to ensure you are making the right decision for YOU. A good coach does not have her own agenda or fears or baggage influencing work. In fact, advice is not something a good coach will give, because a good coach believes YOU have the answer. She has the questions that will get you to the right decision for you.

So - by all means share what's going on for you with family, friends, and loved ones, but be mindful, they're coming at it from a place that is not necessarily impartial.

PS Need impartial assistance to make a decision about your life or career? Get in touch - we'll chat.

Ladies, Take a Bow!

I sit writing this on International Women's Day, March 8th. It feels like this day is gathering momentum as being more and more important, rather than less. Although the subject of women's rights is leap years ahead of where it was when the first internationally recognised day was celebrated in 1975, it seems there is a new momentum, a new vigour to it. It's the next iteration of women's rights that's evolving, with a future that looks brighter.

Today, I'm giving thanks to those women, real, fictional, past and current, who have inspired and influenced me to be the woman I am today:

  • Kate Sheppard: a New Zealand activist who campaigned women's suffrage, gaining women in NZ the right to vote as early as 1893. As the first country in the world to do so, and growing up in a relatively egalitarian society, it has given me a sense of "anything is possible."
  • My mother: who gave me steely determination with oodles of generosity and kindness. Although, I've tried hard over the years to not be like her by being a career woman, rather than a home-maker, there's no getting away from the fact that I am my mother's daughter.
  • My grandmothers: Becoming widows early in their lives, I learned that it was possible for women to be alone in the world, and be OK with it. My maternal grandmother, in particular, did so with relish, leading a life full of love and connection with those around her, without a partner.
  • My mentor: who has shown me that when you are fully yourself, and unapologetically so, you can lead an abundant, full life, where anything is possible, by putting your mind, body and spirit into it. (You know who you are! x)
  • Anne Hartley: author of "Financially Free: a Woman's Guide to Creating Wealth," a book I read in my 20s which changed my relationship with money and wealth. I went from low-wealth-consciousness teacher, to a financially secure corporate queen in the space of a few years.
  • HRH Queen Elizabeth II: She has been a public figure all my life, stoically leading and developing the Commonwealth. Although we could get into a debate about the relevance of monarchy today, she has made it completely natural for us to see a woman in power.

I know there are more women who have inspired and influenced me, (I mean - Notorious RBG! #badass; Oprah!) but the list is long.

Whatever your gender, stop a moment and give thanks to all those women who have shaped you and continue to influence and inspire you. #womanlyartofleadership

For more inspiring women, subscribe on Apple Podcasts to the Womanly Art of Leadership Sessions podcast.

Why I am against Women's Empowerment

Me: "I work with executive women to help them become more impactful and inspiring leaders."

Them: "Oh - like women's empowerment"

Umm...no...in fact, nothing like that.

Every post or headline you read right now is about empowering women. I LOVE the concept - it's my very purpose and mission in life to help women find their voice, be visible, and present, so that can unlock their power and confidence.

Some of the most powerful and influential women in the world currently, chair the World Economic Forum's annual meeting 2018 last week at Davos, Switzerland.

Some of the most powerful and influential women in the world currently, chair the World Economic Forum's annual meeting 2018 last week at Davos, Switzerland.

I do NOT like the word "empower".

Let's look closely at the word.

empower, verb (used with object)

1. to give power or authority to; authorise especially by legal or official means:

I empowered my agent to make the deal for me. The local ordinance empowers the board of health to close unsanitary restaurants.

2. to enable or permit:

Wealth empowered him to live a comfortable life.

Can you see the problem I have with the word?

Let me help you out a bit more.

The most relevant synonyms for the word empower (verb: authorise, enable) in a search on thesaurus.com are:

allow, entitle, entrust, grant, legitimise, permit, vest.

Allow? Permit? The word implies that power must be given to women...by someone else...presumably men. What I know for certain from knowing myself, my mother, my grandmothers, my sister, my female relations, all my female friends, my clients, and numerous role models and inspiring women around the world, is that women have shedloads of power! It doesn't need to be GIVEN to us. We don't need to be ALLOWED to have it. In many cases, it is simply a question of harnessing it, embracing it, unlocking it. That's what I help women do.

The movement described as women's empowerment is actually about opening up ourselves (men AND women), and the systems we've created, to creativity, different thinking, new opportunities. It's about creating space for expansion.

I'm open to new names for this movement. In fact, maybe that's it. Here's to - 

Women's Expansion.

Do you want to expand the possibilities for yourself and harness your power and confidence? Hit reply and let's set up a call to find out what is possible for you. (It's much more than you ever imagined!)

 

Sheryl Sandberg and other #girlcrushes

Who is your #girlcrush?

Actually, I have three:

Christine Lagarde: Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund.

Sallie Krawchek: CEO and co-founder of Ellevest, and former CEO of Merrill Lynch

Sheryl Sandberg: COO of Facebook, author, and founder of LeanIn and Option B organisations.

I was honoured to attend a breakfast meeting this week with one of the local Lean In chapters who welcomed Sheryl Sandberg.

She is so, so impressive and inspiring.

So much great advice and tips she shared from a career perspective (e.g. “Have a short-term plan and a long-term dream”, “Think big!” I'll share more of these in other comms), as well as from the perspective of societal change (“Equality isn’t just the right thing to do; it’s good for you.”)

I came back totally on fire and more committed than ever to help women find their voice, set clear, healthy boundaries, so they can uncover their power and confidence to become impactful leaders and inspiring role models in their lives and careers.

Switched on LinkedIn and saw another inspiring article from my other #girlcrush, Christine Lagarde, speaking from the World Economic Forum’s Davos meeting about the advancement of women and their place in society...

...to which I ‘liked’ and responded with a comment that included the phrase “Happy women mean happy societies.” One eloquent individual responded to my comment with,

“What a lot of baloney.”

BAM! Dropped from a height.

I didn’t respond (If he is not going to make an effort for intelligent discourse, my energy is better used elsewhere.) I get it. When you get visible and vocal, not everyone agrees. I’m OK with differing opinions.

Here’s where I was going with the statement, “Happy women mean happy societies.” It’s in the same vein as Sheryl Sandberg’s comment that equality is “good for you.” Studies have shown:

  • That men who support inclusion rise through the ranks quicker than those who don’t.

  • That companies with diverse boards perform better financially and are more innovative than those who don’t.

  • That children whose mothers work outside the home are better socially adjusted.

  • That women whose mothers work outside the home are more likely to hold positions of responsibility and earn higher wages.

  • That men whose mothers work outside the home are more likely to contribute to the household and spend more time caring for children.

Essentially, what makes a woman happy has the effect of making those around her happy or at least, more content. Women are the gatekeepers on relationships and they set the tone for them. They contribute significantly to social cohesion, social inclusion, and social empowerment which the World Economic Forum describe as factors leading to a happy and decent society.

And if that’s baloney, I’m a spicy sausage! :D

Bisous!

Children Benefit from Having a Working Mom, Carmen Nobel, Harvard Business School Newsroom https://www.hbs.edu/news/articles/Pages/mcginn-working-mom.aspx

What Makes a Happy Society? Claire Wallace, World Economic Forum https://www.weforum.org/agenda/2014/11/makes-happy-society/

How do you view your value and your worth?

Do you have a hard time feeling you deserve a raise?

Do you feel you have to work hard for a six-figure salary?

I've just got off the phone with a client - we had an amazing discussion about how she feels that her self-worth is tied up in how much she earns.

I get it - because I felt that way for a long time, too. I felt that I was a lesser person because I wasn't earning what I really wanted. It was like I had a price on my head - a number that others could see and would judge me as a person because of it.

My client and I are working together to uncover her self-confidence and one of the outcomes from the program is that she wants a raise of between 18% and 60%.

I asked her to write down the salary range and her response was, "It will be difficult to get", and that she feels she doesn't deserve the increase.

Do you feel like this?

Does how much you get paid feel like a reflection of your worth as a person?

Just. Stop. It. PLEASE.

The thing to differentiate here is that:

Self-worth and value are not the same thing.

You can have worth as a human being, and offer value to other people. Two people will see your value differently e.g. one employer will value your skills more than another, a friend will value your time more than another. It is not about YOU as a person. It is about THEIR perception of what you have to offer. Just like in an auction, one bidder will outbid others because they perceive greater value, and THEIR DESIRES drive their perception of value.

So detach from the two - your self-worth is NOT directly related to your value to others. They just see things their own way. And you know yourself, that the people who value your time and energy as you value theirs, are the ones you want to spend time with.

Take that same thought process into your career. If your employer or prospective employer doesn't value you, it's not about you as a person. It means the fit isn't right, IN THAT MOMENT.

Need help to prepare for the salary conversation? Are you tying your self-worth up in your salary? Book a call and let's discuss how we can get you feeing worthy AND valued.

It's arrived! My baby is here!

I'm very excited to announce the birth of my baby...

- the Womanly Art of Leadership Sessions podcast!

Interviews with women leaders about their journeys and challenges, the lessons they learned, and the advice they have to share.

Subscribe, listen, then like and review in iTunes. Please share with those women leaders you think would love to learn from others!

Are you in contraction or expansion?

Stop for a moment, and tell me...how do you feel in your body?

Do you feel tight and tense in your shoulders and back, or your haunches?

How is your breathing? Is it shallow and fast?

Do you miss what's going on around you because you're focused on what's going on in your head, eyes to the ground? 

Does it feel like there isn't an easy answer to what's challenging you right now?

You may not have use this word for it, but I know you recognise how it feels to be in contraction. It's a tight, unnatural and uncomfortable feeling and we truly FEEL it in our bodies when we experience it. It feels like you're closed in a box too small for all your limbs, and you can't see solutions or opportunities even when they present themselves. You're too contained in your box.

Contrast contraction with expansion.

Expansion is light.

Expansion is openness.

Expansion is possibility.

Expansion is excitement.

Expansion is opportunity.

Expansion is creativity.

Expansion is asking better questions of yourself and others.

Expansion is having the same challenges as you do when you're in contraction, but you're coming at them from a very different, more open and abundant place, one that encourages "What if..?" questions. A place of no self-imposed limitations. When you're in expansion, you're able to think more creatively about your situation, expanding your options.

Contraction and expansion are like the difference between hope and desire, closed and open, fear and confidence, scarcity and abundance, surviving and thriving.

I've been listening to some mind-bending podcasts lately, that have had the unexpected outcome of expanding my mind to everything. When you listen to or read life-affirming material like this, it has a tangible impact on how you see the world. If you don't already listen to mind-expanding podcasts, do it now!

So stop and listen to your body.

How does it feel? Do you feel like you're in contraction or expansion?

PS Need help getting out of contraction and into expansion about your life and career? Book a call and let's discuss where you're at.

PPS Want to expand your mind? I'm very excited to announce I'll be launching my Womanly Art of Leadership Sessions podcast shortly! Stay tuned for more info soon!

 

How the market stall owner is teaching me about boundaries

There is a stall owner in the nearby market selling beautiful qualify fruit and vegetables three times a week near my apartment in Paris. He doesn't know it but he is my teacher.

For awhile when I started buying from him each week, I'd try to avoid him, following his assistant around until he was free so he could select the freshest of produce for me. (In a lot of markets in France, you are served by the stall owner so they can select the prime produce for you. By saying when you want to eat it, they'll select just the perfect firmness for you.)

You see, he is a notorious up-seller. I only have to show a vague interest in the Barbary Figs, Physalis, or Wild Asparagus in store, out of pure curiosity, and he has shoved them into my trolley, adding about another €15 to my bill.

I began to see this as a Universal assignment.

I decided to stop avoiding him - we can't avoid conflict in our lives all the time. What I realised I have to is learn to:

Say 'No' and mean it.

No apology. No excuses. No justification....

over and over again. It goes something like this:

"I'll have a pomegranate."

"How many?"

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"Just one."

"It's 3 for €5 - a good price."

"No - just one, please."

"Are you sure? Saves you coming back again."

"Just one please."

And so I get just one pomegranate popped in the trolley.

Why is this important?

By learning to say no calmly and without apology, excuse or justification, I am training myself to for the crucial conversations; to be able to say no to the big things that really matter - like the next time someone asks to borrow money from me, and I don't want to.

Train yourself for the crucial conversations by practicing on the small stuff. It's called setting boundaries, and it is something women often have difficulty doing, as 'people pleasers'. It's why we often work so hard in our careers, doing everything for everyone else, yet end up staying in the same place. It is easy to say 'Yes' - it trips off the tongue easily, yet it is later we often regret it. It takes strength, power and self-belief to say 'No'.

How do you prepare for crucial conversations?

Do you have a difficult relationship with 'No'?"

How are some ways you can start practicing saying 'No' with the small stuff?

Need some help getting comfortable with 'No' and setting clear, healthy boundaries? Book a call and let's discuss how poor boundaries is stopping you from getting what you want in life and career, and how we can change that.

Do you identify with Little Miss Judge-y?

Who drives your behaviour in any given moment?

The victim? "Why has this happened to me again?"

The martyr? "FINE! I'LL do it!"

The boss lady? "This is what I would like you to do, and I would like you to do it ASAP."

A few weeks ago, I did a training on archetypes (if you missed it, catch it here. It's 9 mins long), and in particular, our light and dark characters that drive our behaviour.

Being aware of these characters, knowing when they show up, and being able to use them in a way that's beneficial is key to self-mastery (which is also key to effective leadership, as it happens).

One of my archetypes is Little Miss Judge-y.

She used to show up like this:

"Ooo - should she?" as I nodded sideways at a fashion victim wearing something that in my opinion doesn't work.

OR

"Ooo - he really shouldn't have said that!" as a colleague admits to not being sure about what he is doing on a project (aka vulnerability; cue: eye-roll).

OR

"I'm just going to sit here with my arms tightly crossed over my chest rather than contribute to this conversation in front of everyone," in other words, "The way I judge others is the way I fear they will judge me."

Little Miss Judge-y crops up from time to time still, but not nearly so much. And I'm grateful she doesn't because...

How you judge others is how you judge yourself.

The way you do one thing is the way you do everything.

Judgement like this stops you from going for what you want in life and career, being more confident, speaking up and being heard. I was reminded of how much judgement exists in the corporate world when I worked with a team recently. A very nice, close-knit team, but when it came to showing their vulnerability or sharing anything other than financial results, they clammed shut. Doing that would risk from their peers the type of judgement they eschew on others.

Do you recognise that environment of judgement?

Here's what I recommend.

Stop judging yourself first.

Be aware of when Little Miss Judge-y turns up, and know that, she might be funny sometimes, (I mean, who hasn't enjoyed getting together with a friend and picking someone apart!) but her presence means you are judging yourself in the same harsh way.

And that ain't good.

It's not loving on you.

It's not helping you live and work and achieve all you desire.

It's stopping you from being visible - to yourself and others.

Need help with putting Little Miss Judge-y in a box? Want to feel more confident and stop being a shrinking violet? Book a call and let's discuss how you relieve Little Miss Judge-y of her post.

What price do you place on your confidence?

You see her.

She walks into the meeting room of mostly men. She smiles, extends her hand to greet her guests. She places her folio on the board table and proceeds to address the meeting - engaging, direct, accomplished, poised.

Such grace. Such power. Such confidence

And you think...

"What I would give to be like that..."

Great question! What WOULD you give to be like that?

I have been greeted with resistance when a potential client discusses coaching with me. "What guarantee can you give that coaching with you will work?"

1. I can't guarantee it, and I never would. If you see a coach who guarantees you'll get results, run the other way - fast. As a coach, I have no control over what you will and won't do. I can guide you, influence you, hold the mirror up to you, challenge you, and hold you accountable, but I can't control you and what you do for yourself. Coaching requires energetic investment from you.

2. ROI metrics can be tenuous when it comes to coaching. Even if I were to coach a sales team on confidently approaching sales, for instance, and the team's sales figures went through the roof immediately afterwards, there may be other factors that influenced these figures e.g. market changes, a competitor raising prices or pulling out, new team members that increased the motivation, increased employee engagement. It is highly likely that their success was the result of the confidence they achieved from coaching, but that would need to be in the opinion of the individuals.

There are many more positive outcomes from coaching that cannot be measured financially.

HOWEVER...

What I can say is this:

Laura invested €760 in a 4-hour coaching intensive with me to boost her confidence to approach her bosses about getting an €18,000 training course paid for by the company. It worked, so ROI = 2,368%. She started the course in September.

Toni invested €2,500 in a 90-day coaching program with me to help her make a decision about her next career path. She finally left Singapore to go back to London with a competitor, where she negotiated a sign-on bonus of €25,000. She says she would never have had the confidence to negotiate it prior to the coaching. So, ROI = 1,000%.

Anne invested in the same program as Toni to help her get more comfortable in her new leadership position - to be more productive, learn to stop micro-managing, and create balance in her life. Within a few months of completing the program she was transferred from the Norwegian office to her dream job in the Bermuda office! She just informed me she is buying a boat to explore the coastline after work. ROI = ...what price happiness? I've never seen her glow so much!

So...what price do you place on your confidence?

What investment in you and your power are you prepared to make?

What are your goals and dreams worth?

An investment in yourself is an investment in your outcomes. A leadership position? A raise? Life balance? Stronger boundaries? More power and confidence?

It's all within reach.

Invest in yourself and your goals now. Book a call to discuss what outcomes you want to achieve.